A clear outlook
Lions Club member helped to collect close to 40,000 pairs of eyeglasses for Third World countries
Inside Charlie Corkum’s suitcase, among his clothing and other items needed for a vacation in Cuba, were about 200 pairs of eyeglasses.
“Most of the resorts in Cuba have a nursing station,” he said. “I took the glasses to give to the doctor. His eyes got that wide,” he said, gesturing with his hands. “He said, ‘We have a clinic right down the road.’ He was excited and got the nurse; they really appreciated it.” around to pick them up, they’ll pack them and keep them for me,” he said.
More than 1,000 pairs are collected annually. Corkum added, it would be a “terrible waste” if the glasses weren’t given to new owners in need.
“Glasses are fairly expensive. If they just went in the garbage it would be a shame because someone could use them.”
It’s a good feeling to do any act of kindness that benefits other people, he said.
“Everyone pitches in, and Lions are good that way. The project is important to the club because it helps other people, and that’s what we’re here for.”
Lions Club treasurer Stew Arkwell said close to 8,000 pairs of eyeglasses currently sit in boxes at the club.
The process has changed as the glasses are now sorted on the Island.
“You tell me how many other 90-year-olds are going around and doing it. He has put an awful lot of work into it over the years and an awful lot of work into the Lions Club.” Stew Arkell, St. Eleanor’s Lions Club treasurer
“We would ship them to Edmonton to be sorted there, and then they went off to various Third World countries. This will save us a lot of money on shipping.”
Inmates at the Sleepy Hollow jail will sort all of the glasses, which is expected to begin at the end of the month, he added.
Arkwell is impressed with Corkum’s hard work and dedication.
“You tell me how many other 90-year-olds are going around and doing it. He has put an awful lot of work into it over the years and an awful lot of work into the Lions Club.”
Lions Clubs around the world donate eyeglasses.
“Lions International sends optometrists down to fit the people for the eyeglasses. There are people who haven’t been able to see well their whole lives, and now they can because of the eyeglasses that get shipped to them,” said Arkwell.
The club also works with local people who are blind or visually impaired, he added.
“We’re a service club and that’s what service clubs are about. It’s rewarding to know you’re going out and helping other people.”
St. Eleanor’s Lions Club member Charlie Corkum sorts through one of the many boxes that contain close to 8,000 pairs of eyeglasses that will be shipped to those in need in Third World countries.